Ferrari KC23: stunning one-off gives clues to the future

The new Ferrari KC23 is a jaw-dropping, one-off reworking of the 488 GT3 track car, created for “one very imaginative, passionate and exacting customer”.

Revealed ahead of an appearance on the hillclimb at this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the KC23 is the latest customer-commissioned creation from Maranello’s in-house Special Projects division. It follows in the footsteps of the GTC4-based BR20, the 812-based SP51 and last year’s stunning SP48 Unica, derived from the F8 Tributo.

Unlike those cars, the KC23 is not road-legal, being based around the underpinnings of the firm’s most successful track car yet. The firm says it has been designed specifically for ‘non-competitive’ track use, but hails it as “the ultimate private Ferrari”, pointing to the extensive engineering work that has gone into ensuring suitably outrageous performance.

In place of the GT3 car’s outlandish air-channeling hardware, for example, the more ‘elegant’ KC23 features a subtle but effective active aero package incorporating motorised body panels along the side, which open and close to adjust airflow.At a standstill, with the engine off, the panels close to showcase what Ferrari calls the KC23’s “pure monolithic beauty.

Ferrari describes the transition: “Hit the engine start button, and that visual stance is transformed using custom kinematics to reveal its huge air intakes and active aerodynamics.

“The car then beckons to be pushed hard on the circuit. This transition is almost organic, switching mood and physicality from chic evening wear to punk rock aggression in the pursuit of downforce.”

A fixed rear wing is fitted in the name of optimal downforce, but can be removed for a cleaner look.

Ferrari says this one-off – taking inspiration from the firm’s Vision Gran Truism concept and Le Mans-winning 499P hypercard – gives a “tantalising glimpse” of cars it will launch in the decades to come, highlighting the LaFerrari-style butterfly doors, wraparound headlights and slimline rear light ‘blade’ as some of its headline features.

Another highlight is the bespoke, four-layer aluminium-effect paintwork, dubbed Gold Mercury. Infused with liquid metal for a ‘living, breathing’ effect, it changes colour in different lights, and is said to be “as captivating as the machine itself”.

Inside, it’s a completely different story: the 488 GT3’s spartan, race-focused cockpit is carried over wholesale, so there’s no touchscreen, plush leather upholstery or top-link sound system – but there is a hardcore race steering wheel with no fewer than 16 buttons and switches, a full roll cage and a pair of hardcore bucket seats.

So, too, are the GT3’s fearsome chassis set-up and twin-turbo V8 carried over – though it has not been confirmed whether freedom from strict FIA protocols has allowed for a power boost beyond the standard 550bhp. 2020’s GT3-based Modificata one-off packed some 690bhp, for example.

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